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August 11th, 2011 by Mythreyi Krishnan under Commentary

Geo Location trend: Why you should take notice

Using geolocation technology, a person’s real world physical location can be identified. If the individual is on a computer, then the IP address is tracked. This also works for outdoor wi-fi spots in cafes, airports and shops. Location can even be tracked on a smartphone using the in-built GPS system.

Several apps dedicated to geo location have sprung up recently, the most popular one being foursquare. There are over 10 million users who are registered with foursquare as of 2011 ammassing close to 400 million check-ins. Apps such as foursquare, Gowalla, Brightkite and Loopt have taken geolocation and made it fun and interactive. They have simply made it more ‘social’ thereby attracting users to sign up which have then pulled in businesses to make use of it as well.




The current king of geo location automatically checks you in to a place where you’ve arrived with its new Checkmate app. The user who has checked into a location most number of times, whether it be the local starbucks outlet or a dentist’s office is awarded the title of mayor of that particular location until he is usurped by someone with a higher number of check-ins. You can also earn badges ranging from newbie to Superstar depending on usage volume.

Businesses like Starbucks have made use of foursquare by offering a honorary “barista” badge if a customer makes a certain number of visits to an outlet. Mayors of outlets are allowed to avail a free frappacino or given other perks. Not only is this a creative use of the app, it encourages customers to  patronize outlets and makes them feel part of the brand. The fact that a simple app can motivate customers to return to certain stores or feel a certain attachment makes it powerful and opens up numerous possibilities for business, both big and small.

Facebook places


Checking into places on facebook is similar to other apps but it depends less on GPS tracking. Users can check in on their desktop computers or through their smartphones via can also tag friends you are hanging out with and check in your friends to the location. This will show up on their news feeds after they approve the tag.

For businesses, they will be able to link their places listing to their facebook page which will come with the wall and comments functions. They can then offer special prices or discounts for patrons who check into the place listing. However, facebook places is currently available in a limited number of countries including United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden and Singapore.

Geolocation could be very beneficial for small business owners who don’t command a large number of users or traffic volume on their twitter or facebook pages. They can raise their profile as well as improve customer retention by offering special discounts and freebies. Although geo location usage is still only within the domain of early adaptors who are not very concerned about privacy issues, it is set to be big in 2011. With social media integration carrying the midas touch, geo location is likely to be a hit as well.

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